Guantanamo Bay Authorities Ban Solzhenitsyn's 'The Gulag Archipelago'

from the stranger-than-fiction dept

Some stories, you just couldn’t make up. Like this one, reported on the UK site Reprieve, about a failed attempt to pass some reading material to one of the people detained at Guantanamo Bay. Something unsuitable you might guess, perhaps advocating terrorist ways? Well, not exactly:

The legal team for Shaker Aamer, a British resident who has been detained in Guantanamo without charge or trial for 11 years, attempted to deliver a copy of The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn during a recent visit.

However, Mr Aamer has now told his lawyers that he never received the book.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ has had problems with the authorities: when it was completed in 1968, it had to be smuggled out of the Soviet Union on microfilm so that it could be published in the West. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the book and its importance:

Solzhenitsyn argued that the Soviet government could not govern without the threat of imprisonment, and that the Soviet economy depended on the productivity of the forced labor camps, especially insofar as the development and construction of public works and infrastructure were concerned.

This put into doubt the entire moral standing of the Soviet system. In Western Europe the book eventually forced a rethinking of the historical role of Lenin. With The Gulag Archipelago, Lenin’s political and historical legacy became problematic, and the factions of Western communist parties who still based their economic and political ideology on Lenin were left with a heavy burden of proof against them. George F. Kennan, the influential U.S. diplomat, called The Gulag Archipelago, “the most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be levied in modern times.”

Now why on earth would any of that be problematic for the Guantanamo Gulag, er, Bay authorities, I wonder…?

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Comments on “Guantanamo Bay Authorities Ban Solzhenitsyn's 'The Gulag Archipelago'”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Too many similarities for comfort I wonder?

I’m betting they confiscated the book in question for the mental and physical well-being of the prisoner. After all, imagine the hand and wrist strain that would occur from someone having to check the front and back of the book every other page to make sure that yes, it is indeed supposed to be a book about communist Russia and not current-day US, and the confusion that would arise due to the massive similarities between the two countries, causing such frequent back-of-the-book checking.

Ninja (profile) says:

Never mind the censorship, let us focus on this single sentence:

a British resident who has been detained in Guantanamo without charge or trial for 11 years

Eleven fucking years incarcerated without charges. How many times this Government condemned Human Rights violations and similar stuff in the last decade? And yet there is at least one man that’s detained without a freaking charge. That’s plain disgusting. North Korea does that too, you know?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There are still many incarcerated without a charge. This guy is not even close to an exception from a rule… Nobody wants to take these prisoners and the US government fear that they will return to kill international soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is very easy to see how sick and twisted it was to create this abomination. It is another problem entirely to integrate the prisoners back from the legal no mans land.

I think Guantanamo has become a clear example of how stupid it is to treat prisoners like this. Both from a human right perspective and a legal perspective. Hopefully the government has written “never again” on this stupidity. It is the only way to avoid this crappy situation.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

If you’ll notice, they’re the same tactics of communist states. Communism isn’t dead, it just goes under a different banner: ‘progressive liberal’. Let’s not ignore the far-right, either, as many of them are just as much in favor the same things.

Read this list of the 45 declared goals of communism, taken from The Naked Communist, to see just how far they’re infiltrated the social and political landscape here in America.

Some Other AC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

Are you willfully ignorant? Gitmo and any number of headaches we are facing today from the trampling of rights and police state were effectively setup by Bush and his administration. While both parties are to blame, these “laws” and “institutions” were knee jerk reactions passed with bi-partisan support in both houses.
President Obama is not without guilt. He has repeatedly reversed course on any number of topics that are cornerstone to maintaining a free society. However, put the blame where it accurately lies. Neither political party/ideology is without blame here.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

I guess you missed where I said that there are Republicans who also go along with the goals listed. Furthermore, I’ve been reiterating that both parties are really two sides of the same coin.

The problem stems from the fact that most of the goals mentioned are explicitly liberal, but the end result is the same regardless: big government, same as communism in all but name, invading every facet of our lives, telling us what to think and how to act.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

yes, keep dancing to the puppet strings. Keep dancing following their whims while they play us off on each other. Democrat, republican, they are all the god damn same. It’s rather awesomely ingrained in your brain too since you hop onto ‘progressive liberals’ that were vocally against it during Bush’s term but now all the sudden they are vocally for it. Keep dancing.
You are the reason this country is shit.

you don’t think for yourself or even see the strings attached to you.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

It’s clear you don’t know much of anything about me, particularly my political views. Most Republicans are for big government, hence Bush Jr., so don’t mistaken me for one.

Yes, ‘progressive liberals,’ as anyone can readily see how many of the communist goals listed they make a part of their political agenda. The book The Naked Communist was written in, what, 1963? It’s rather scary how much they’ve managed to accomplish. We’re truly being destroyed from within.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Jack Bauer: the American role-model

So you pull back a bit, show some humanity… then you just slam your foot back down on the accelerator pumping all 12 cylinders of “crazy”.

But hell since you responded, I might as well respond sensibly.

Ends don’t justify the means, which is the root of the problem with communism. Liberals don’t like communism. It’s violent. Socialism is a democratic approach. The masses debate and vote on which and how much of certain things should be taken. Much like conservatives should vote and debate on how much of certain things should be taken.

A communist violently kicks(mostly shoots) everyone out and sets the new rules.

liberals and conservatives battle with words and we reach a point to hopefully keep the most possible people happy.

Your talk of communism is distracting from any valid point you may have and pointing fingers at any one group at this point is pure madness. We’ve had two different administrations ride through all of this doing the same damn thing.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Jack Bauer: the American role-model

Just because it’s not as blatant (yet) as it was in, say, the USSR doesn’t mean anything. They don’t throw the frog in boiling water, after all.

Any sane person can see the slow, methodical destruction. Socialism inevitably leads to communism, because by its very nature it creates a system wherein everyone is dependent upon big government. When the latter owns, regulates and controls everything, you have communism and communism invariably leads to mass genocide.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re: Jack Bauer: the American role-model

The Naked Communist was written by an ex-FBI agent in 1963. The very fact that almost every stated goal has since come to pass speaks volumes to its authenticity. Seeing as you cannot attack the author’s credibility, you must resort to ridicule. So be it, stick your head in the sand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Let’s see. For starters: most incarcerated people in the world (per citizen), check.


Perhaps you can also count that economy of especially the southern states needs the cheap labour of the immigrants, which can remain cheap because they get next to no rights. Not exaclty imprisoned, but still.

How many steps behind? The US may be ahead already.

Hambone says:

“… detained in Guantanamo without charge … for 11 years …”

This is the single most disturbing thing about all of this to me. I don’t even care about the book. I am just pissed that someone could lose a decade+ of their life to the gov, without even being charged with a crime.

The extra-legal dealings of this government have gone so far. They are adept at going not-quite-far-enough as to foment full scale armed revolution.

Franklin, Jefferson, Washington would be pissed at all of us.

DB Cooper (profile) says:

Please guys put Gitmo in perspective. Detainees do not get trials. Also are you aware that the brits held common soldierd for 10 years after WW2 ended to be used as slave labor to take apart obsolete and excess war material> How about De Gaulle putting 50,000 NAZI SS soldier in concentration camps under a lifetime imprisonment edict (think executive order)without a trial and then when they couldnt get any frenchmen to go to indochina (now vietnam) to kill commies so the rich french could get their rubber plantation back they forced these ss troops to join the Foriegn Legion and fight for them. How about the 1000’s of americans who emigrated to the USSR in the 20’s and 30’s to live in the peoples utopia only to be imprisoned in siberia.
Don’t lose any sleep ove the guys in Gitmo. They are there for a reason.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah no, you don’t get to hand wave off one atrocity by pointing to another with a ‘see, worse stuff has happened, so this doesn’t count!’

People accused of the worst crimes around still get trials, still get to defend themselves in court, the idea that claiming(because if they could prove it, they would have) that someone is a ‘terrorist’ suddenly makes stripping them of the most basic human rights and imprisoning them without trial acceptable is dead wrong, it’s still a gross injustice, and an affront to the very core of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, something that any real justice system has as it’s foundation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Worse wrongs in the past does not in /any/ way excuse wrongs today. If anything it makes them worse because we should know better. Emigrants suffering over half a century ago does not justify this abuse. Nor does the “victor’s justice” of WWII.

And what is the reason that they are there other than some sociopath trying to look “tough on terror” and drumming up complete bullshit fears that somehow holding trial for a captive and under excessive-guard prisoner on our soil is “too dangerous to transfer”. They’re people held on dubious at the very best grounds for a decade. Not some sort of mutant psychic superman who when traveling can make the heads of anyone they can see explode with a thought, let off a nuclear explosion where they stand and be unharmed, and fire superheated plasma out of their asses! If you can’t prevent them from being dangerous with an overkill squad of eight armed guards you should be fired for utter incompetence.

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